Freeze Frame: heART stopping collections

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Just the way I style . single pieces that match the decor.

For the longest time I owned very little art that could be considered worthy of collection.  Some of my very first pieces, a pair of black and white photos I took on a barge trip down the Canal du Midi in France, a small original abstract painted in oil by a friend, I took care in framing.  I made these disparate pieces come together by using the same thick mat, its bevel at a sharp angle to draw the eye in, and the use of matching black frames.  I still love these pieces, but they often end up stowed in the back of a closet in their moving boxes.  Why?  My own inability to combine them with newer works of art I have collected along the way.

Living in the South End allows my voyeuristic tendencies to be satisfied without the police getting involved.  As I wonder the streets at night, homes are lit and visual access abounds.  There is one home on the corner of Union Park and Tremont that has a wall of artwork that leaves bare only small pockets of space between pieces.  When I dine at Aquitaine I can see it’s not a single wall, it’s a least two, I suspect the whole room is littered with artwork.  This displays a fearlessness that I do not possess, but admire.

art 2

OKL . The use of architectural moldings to frame pictures within frames.

I dated a guy recently that subscribed to the same aesthetic philosophy – every square inch was spoken for with his photographs and rock band posters.  While the remainder of his place could have used a redesign, he got the art work right, well at least that which he hung on his wall.  I was the most precious piece of art he was likely to come across, and his curatorial instincts passed right over this little gem.  A story for another time.

OKL . left: artwork hung on walls  and rested on furniture.  Right:  black frames pull together different media.

As a flipper I often draw inspiration from a new single piece of artwork.  I want this piece to take center stage, but I don’t want to make all my other artwork feel unloved.  It got me thinking about what the experts would do.  I offer up this advice to you all, but respectfully ask you to forgive me for not deploying all the techniques.   I need to protect my investment and spare myself a hole filling expedition prior to handing over the keys.

OKL . Left the use of gold frames and similar color ways tie these pieces together. Right:  Keeping it simple, matching hues.

Grouping Art:  thematic art (nature, seascapes, portraits, etc. can be the theme that ties a display together)  similar colors, the same or similar media – oil, watercolor, black and white photography, magazine covers, etc.) can help pull together pieces that otherwise don’t have a direct relationship.

Framing:  in matching or complimentary frames, pieces that otherwise have no apparent relationship look like two peas in a pod, likewise, bringing a color palette together through the use of matting works nicely, using wall moldings to act as a frame for several pieces can bring them together in a non-traditional way, and bring organization within those borders.

Scale:  While everything need not be the same size, if that is your visual preference, mat and frame smaller pieces to match larger, hanging a smaller piece of artwork directly next to a larger one, and at eye level can invite the viewer in for a closer look.

Layering and Stacking:  hang it on the wall or not.  Desks, bureaus, mantels, counters and other surfaces offer opportunities to display art, playing with scale and size, largest pieces in the back, smallest toward the front, ensures all will be seen.

House Beautiful . Left:  Boldly using wall space – black and gold frames tie pieces together, but it looks professionally hung.  Right:  Birds and butterflies tie this rooms art together, while the black painted wall acts as one large mat.

I am not at that stage in my life where I would consider hiring an Art Consultant.  Maybe when my quest is complete.  Having said that, I call on my artist friend, John Vinton from whom I have purchased a number of abstract seascape of my native Cape Cod.  John is a wonderful talent, and a generous man.  He comes and helps me hang my most sacred pieces at the completion of each renovation.  He makes me smile.  If you don’t know John, and live in the Boston area, you could try these folks:

Jacquline Becker . Fine Arts Consulting Services . . 617.527.6169 or Haley & Steel . . 617.536.6339.

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OKL . Layered for interest . keeping it eye level.

While I am not the type of person that has the patience to nudge and mark and measure and remeasure, if you are attempting to do this on your own, I recommend laying it out on the floor, or creating templates.  This is particularly important if you are selecting a pattern that is complex, or asymmetrical.  Better safe than sorry.  Happy Hanging.



Time to Kick the Sticks

On this old tent.  Though the metaphor isn’t exactly me, (it’s still cute) as I’m not much of a camper.  I’m more Glamp than Camp, though one wouldn’t know it with this lifestyle I keep.  It’s a lot of inconvenience, a good deal of sweating, a little nail biting, a few sleepless nights, with a little glamour sprinkled in between.  Clearly I can go a long way on a perfect moment.  When something that should by all rights, not come together, when all the obstacles have been crossed, when the plan a, b, and c have been put in place, shifted around, compromised, and still inexplicably it turns out.  Well, it’s sublime.  I live for it.

closing waltham 1

But breaking camp is never that much fun.  I am always surprised by what I have managed to collect, this time in just 7 months, and how well I do, hiding it all away.  It’s not so pretty when it’s spread all out over the living room.  Nonetheless, I have a system in place which is incredibly efficient, and doesn’t involve Jo-Jo, my little sister clearing the shelves off into boxes and shrieking, “there’s no time to organize it – we just have to get it packed.”  Oh Tink, there is time, and I managed to get it done in a day.  Of course I will call on my favorite movers – Humboldt Storage and Moving Closing 2#howcanwereduceyourstresstoday.  It’s love.  I beg them with each move, I am part of their frequent flier club so we are well acquainted, to please open other divisions to manage the other aspects of my life, for which I am in desperate need of assistance.  Alas, they seem committed to sticking to this one area, that they are super good at.  I’d like to hold a grudge, but they are just too…too.  If you know what I mean.

So it’s true, I got a little restless.  I watched the market, and my gut told me to join in the fun.  This week alone in the South End 43 properties where reported on as having closed in the Spring Market.  10 of which went for over $1000. a foot, 4 over $1100., 3 over $1200.  That’s practically the definition of insanity, and I love a little insane when I’m on the selling side of the table.  I absolutely abhor it when I am trying to buy.

closing 3

If the truth be told, neither side of the tent flap is all that easy, and yet here I find myself again.  Until Friday, I’ll be on the inside looking out.  On Saturday, I’ll be the one looking – wide-eyed and all.  Wish me luck.

closing 4

A huge thanks need to go out to my Real Estate Broker, Alan Duggan of Compass, to my good friend and Artist John Vinton for loaning me the perfect painting in preparation for the sale, and to all my friends and family for putting up with the happy chaos which is my life.


South End Open Studios

I put my money where my mouth was, and got out to support the arts today.  One of my very favorite artists is in the Waltham Studios.  Among my friends and I, we own a dozen John Vinton abstract seascapes.

jv in studio

John Vinton in Studio

Some hail from Maine or Manchester, but I selected one he did in Wellfleet.  It’s awash with color and calms me.  A former Architect, John has a real talent.  A few weeks ago, I attempted to copy one of John’s paintings and reinforced the depth of his genius.  I’m glad I stopped by because we got to talking and he just might be willing to conduct a workshop for me and some of my friends.  Perhaps I’ll be able to wade a little deeper in the tidal pool when he’s through with me.

After a month in Napa he’s begun work on a new series from his inspired visit.  Warm days, rich earth, sunshine, and vineyards.  These works, like a great wine, are sure to inspire.

jv napa

John Vinton . Napa Series – in process.

Another notable artist studio I visited was Mark Bouzane’s.  He wasn’t actually there, but the door was open and the light’s where on so in I went.  I am so happy I did.  He had large scale canvases pinned to the walls – frameless.  They were in fact enormous.  They were a bubble of laughter, splashed in a bouquet of color.  They were happy.


Mark Bouzane . 46 Waltham Street . Studio 303 . Boston email:

I went back to M. Flynn again because some spaces just make you feel good.  I love the pale pink walls, and the crystal chandeliers, the Louis Ghost Chairs and the over-dyed rug at the stores entry.  I can see my canopy bed in the front room, and oh the cocktail parties I’d throw.  Sparkling Rose and French Macaroons.  Of course I’d beg the gals Megan and Moria to let me keep the sign that reads:  Faire la fete.  Make the Party indeed.  They are having an appraisal event on 19 May, so dig through your jewelry box, stop by your Grandmothers, and make an appearance.  Whether you show up with a paper bag full of gems or a velvet sack, it’s not their mode of transport that will determine their value.  Maybe, just maybe, your touting a goldmine.  Bonne Chance.


Still Here?

Only I would have a furniture sale where I ended up with more furniture than I started with, would sell things that weren’t intended for sale, and effectively finish with the same challenge for which I started!  There really is no point hiding who I am.  It all eventually comes out in the wash.  I hope you’ll grow to love these idiosyncrasies as they are quintessentially me, and therefore unlikely to change.


Handsome Devil’s – circa 1967 Carlo Jensen

When I loaded those Carlo Jensen’s into the house this morning, I was fairly certain the handsome pair were going to stay with me.  They’re an excellent vintage, circa 1967, and are stamped for authenticity.  A mid-century modern designer, Carlo’s country of origin was Denmark.  While I cannot find much out about the gent, I know this – he loved Rosewood, and I love him for it.  It has an air of majesty about it.  It’s simple and elegant, and simply elegant.  So there you have it, I fell for them, and for him.  Who doesn’t like a man of mystery?

Several married gals popped in to investigate the sale, and while I could tell they were aflutter with excitement over many of the fine pieces on display, I suspected they held back their amorous feelings due to their other half.  I nearly had Ruth Anne with a carefully crafted pitch, designed to explain why she was bringing an astonishingly expensive piece of art home, without having consulted her husband first.  I still contend that if I had a little more time with her, practicing the delivery, he would have been thanking her for her brilliance.  So goes the sale, she departed without it.

Going Once

Still Lots to see here…

I implore you to have a heart, and pop by tomorrow between 10am – 2pm, and make one of these beauties your own.  Love need not be limited to a single thing – your heart will grow exponentially to hold all the fondness that abounds in this room and elsewhere.  Promise.